Choosing CrossFit After 50

CrossFit After 50 is a bit different than when you were in your 20’s. The initial purpose of CrossFit (unlike the traditional fitness program) is to simulate activities that are stressful and high risk (full of constantly varied, functional movements)for injury in a physically demanding lifestyle or occupation; however, by starting CrossFit (although Crossfit is more desirable to master athletes) we will all learn that essential functions will become just as stressful as we age. Most 50+ individuals want a program that is not too rigid or stressful on their bodies; however, there is still that population that is into fitness after 50, that wants the stresses of CrossFit, (particularly ex-athletes) and strength training until the body tells them that it is time to change their routine or quit doing CrossFit altogether.

It is a personal choice, but with or without CrossFit, it is better to work smarter in maintaining muscle mass to prevent the severe risks of injury associated with CrossFit.

Dangers of CrossFit

Combining the words “CrossFit” and “easy” in the same sentence, knowing the dangers of CrossFit appears unattractive to someone 50+ and looking to maintain physical fitness while safely re-establishing a healthy lifestyle. Still, master’s athletes are typically better at knowing their physical limits, listening to their body, and have grown to appreciate the importance of rest to avoid the risk of injury (with long periods of physical therapy in recovery)and achieve their fitness goals. Ultimately, Senior trainers in cross-fit gyms have the training experience to teach you how you can incorporate CrossFit into your lifestyle after 50 if you so choose.

The level of experience in CrossFit training (obtained by Cross fit masters) is the key to selecting routines that are safe and will address your health concerns. Still, at this age, most 50+ (who are not seeking the experience of a cross-fit master) may be most comfortable with exercises that involve resistance training that is less than their body weight and does not require their feet to leave the floor. In addition, pre-workout routines become more telling in your ability to complete your workout as you age; and cross-fit classes may not be the healthiest alternative for you.

Even younger athletes who participate in resistance training programs should stretch before working out, so it becomes critical that the older athlete do the same regardless of fitness level.

Before You Begin Your Workout

Stretch!

Older athletes must make it a habit to stretch before beginning an exercise program. Stretching not only increases flexibility in your muscles but reduces strain or cramping as you conduct movements to warm up the joints. Warming up and stretching will better prepare you to get through your workout while reducing the risk of injury, but also the lingering post-workout fatigue brought on by chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

Learn to Do the Workouts

Weight lifting may be the most attractive to the competitive athlete, but Cross fit is much more than just weight lifting. Different CrossFit workouts will address the specific concerns you may have with your physical capabilities. After learning to do them safely and correctly, finding a workout partner (in your age group) with similar capabilities and physical journey may encourage you to engage in more exercises to expand your physical limitations. The way your body responds to changes in effort and increased physical activity may be just what your body needed. Living life gracefully at an older age and enjoying the benefits of regular exercise still requires a significant level of rest and recovery in order to complete everyday tasks without the usual post-workout soreness.

Rest for Your Next Workout

Rest and recovery are necessary to overcome fatigue and any soreness caused by the previous workout. It may take one thing (or multiple things) to create your recovery plan but should indulge in things that are most relaxing in order to achieve proper rest and recovery. Proper rest and recovery will not only prevent injury but restore the energy that you will need to get through the next training. Warm-ups and different movements provide the time for healing; however, trainers recommend that older (50+) individuals take a day between strenuous exercise for recovery. CrossFit usually demands this from an individual at any age.

Your Next Workout Meal

Excellent and clean nutrition is critical to recovery, building strength, muscle development, and reverse aging initiated by any strenuous exercise. Activities as demanding as the higher risk in cross-fit require good recovery if you plan to continue in this lifestyle and prevent injuries. A good balance of protein, carbs, and amino acids is relative to your own needs, but working out at least an hour after eating (and a post-workout snack within 30 minutes of completion) may ensure optimal use of the nutrients for energy, recovery, and repair from a CrossFit workout.

Remember that ‘Rome was not built in a day,” and neither will the connective tissue in your muscles, so be patient, intend to eat clean and do not risk injury by pushing yourself too hard (or too soon) while doing CrossFit. The more innovative way to ensure you maintain a full range of motion and high intensity while doing cross fit, as a beginner, is to obtain a coach or personal trainer.

Know Your Coach 

Not all coaches are created equal, but an effective CrossFit coach can maximize the benefits of gaining optimal results during your fitness journey. The reality is that you must listen to your coach, be diligent in all of the areas above, and learn from past experiences. Years ago, a licensed trainer was enough, but today it is better to hire coaches who have experience training older athletes and understand what physical needs are most important to 50+ men and women, respectively. Always remember that the balance between appearance and functionality is unique to each individual. These trainers found CrossFit to offer a “one size fits all” approach which is such a high risk to 50+ individuals whether they are ex-athletes or not.

What Exercises You Should Do Now

At age 50+, CrossFit movements are much riskier if you are not a master’s athlete. Therefore, a CrossFit trainer with experience training older individuals is critical to the CrossFit lifestyle. Older people looking to get in the best shape in this lifestyle is less conducive to exercises that maintain your muscle mass, increase your bone density, improve your balance to prevent falls, posture to reduce back injury, mobility, and flexibility to reduce the risk of muscle strain, decrease pain, and decrease pain nerve depression when executing functional movements. Starting cross fit after a recent sedentary lifestyle is dangerous to muscles just getting used to physical exercise again, so you should consider doing low impact exercises before pursuing this cross fit. 

Choosing practical exercises and exploring different movements before attempting any advanced CrossFit routine may better benefit you under the advice of your CrossFit coach. However, realistically, the exercises within the CrossFit lifestyle are more limited to 50+ adults with limited physical capabilities and/or debilitating health conditions. Therefore, when improvements in strength, stamina, and vitality become evident, it is essential that you track your progress and identify what exercises are most effective.

Write Down Best Workouts

You want to keep doing exercises that will keep you feeling good for many years. The initial purpose of CrossFit is to simulate activities that are stressful and high risk for injury in a physically demanding lifestyle or occupation; however, we will all learn that essential functions will become just as stressful as we age. Most 50+ individuals want a program that is not too rigid or stressful on their bodies; however, there is still that population that wants the stresses of CrossFit (particularly ex-athletes) until the body tells them that it is time to change their routine or quit doing CrossFit altogether. It is a personal choice, but with or without CrossFit, it is better to work smarter to prevent the severe risks of injury associated with CrossFit.

Enjoy What You Achieve

Seeing the benefits from CrossFit will inspire you to work out more and further improve your physical capabilities. Suppose you internalize the cross-fit lifestyle as more than just fitness and commit to it as long as you are still capable. In that case, you could expand your network of peers who are doing CrossFit and learn how others can stay active in such a demanding sport.

If you’re looking to make new friends and spend time with people pursuing a more active lifestyle, try CrossFit. It is still perfectly okay if you find that this type of regime is not a good fit for you because you may find other alternatives (besides lifting heavy weights) that the 50+ master’s athletes and non-athlete have discovered to be more conducive to your desired fitness level and longevity.

Start CrossFit Now

Before you start CrossFit, There are numerous boxes in the CrossFit community tailored to 50+ masters athletes who are taking CrossFit classes and committed to lifelong fitness. As the life expectancy of the elderly population worldwide is increasing, many 50-year old plus individuals are proving they can achieve levels of fitness that they had years ago, though society thinks they are too old to obtain or too weak to endure. Age is just a number. Regardless of whether you want to compete at the highest level (for the CrossFit games) or want to train at your local CrossFit gym (CrossFit gyms in West Virginia are made for novices and experts alike), strength training after 50 is still an effective way to reduce the loss of muscle mass due to aging. 

So to find the closest CrossFit gyms and get started. If you would instead follow basic workouts at home and see if it works for you, the YouTube trainers (who have clients that started CrossFit) have brought many older individuals back on their feet and on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

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